Honda Civic vs Volkswagen Golf vs Renault Megane Express

Fashions come and go, however the lengthy-lived
compact household hatchback class stays as well-liked as ever. If
you need proof, then look no additional than the most recent Honda Civic, which is now in its tenth

But whereas the Honda has historical past on its aspect,
the model’s bosses are firmly centered on the longer term with this
all-new machine, which abandons its predecessor’s quirky
character in favour of a extra upmarket method. There’s additionally a
new vary of highly effective and environment friendly engines, some chopping-edge
security equipment and the promise of sophistication-main

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Nevertheless, it’s not the one hatchback with
heritage. The VW Golf has been
round for 4 many years and 7 generations. And there’s now
a facelifted Mk7 that will get extra package, overhauled engines and a
revised trim line-up.

Against this, the fourth-technology Mégane is a relative newcomer. With its
type, refinement and expertise, it represents a stern check.
With almost a hundred years of growth between them, these household
machines promise to be the perfect – however which one takes

Honda Civic

Mannequin: Honda Civic Turbo EX
Worth: £23,040
Engine: 3cyl, 127bhp
zero-60mph: 10.1 seconds
Take a look at financial system: 36.9mpg
CO2: 117g/km
Annual highway tax: £one hundred forty

Over the course of greater than 4 a long time, the
Honda Civic has grown from a frugal metropolis automobile into a completely
fledged household hatch. The tenth technology is all new inside and
out, and takes a extra delicate and upmarket strategy than its
predecessor. There’s an overhauled
engine line-up, too, and for its first take a look at we pattern
the petrol in £23,040 EX

Honda tried to ship a extra grown-up driving
expertise with the brand new Civic. Refinement is improved, whereas
the decrease and wider stance delivers assured dealing with. Extra
importantly, the model has dropped its tried-and-examined
naturally aspirated petrol engines in favour of downsized

Main the cost is the 127bhp
three cylinder examined right here. Nonetheless, regardless of almost matching
the Renault for energy and creating a muscular 200Nm of
torque, the Honda trailed the lighter Golf on the monitor. It was
half a second slower within the dash from zero-60mph with a time of
10.1 seconds. The Civic trailed the Golf in-gear,


On the highway it’s a must to work the Honda as onerous
because the Renault to maintain up with the VW. The Civic’s

engine is raring to rev, however there’s extra
vibration than
in both rival, and
it’s extra vocal than the VW’s. 

By shifting the gasoline tank from below the entrance
to forward of the rear axle, Honda
has lowered the driving place. The electrically-assisted
steering is fast, there’s loads of grip and the dampers
ship respectable physique management in Sport mode. Honda’s torque
vectoring does a great job protecting you on line, too, however you
really feel it working greater than the VW’s clean system. Swap the
suspension to Consolation and the Honda does an excellent job of soaking
up bumps
– matching the softly
suspended Renault for consolation
Elsewhere, the Honda is impressively refined, and generates
much less wind noise at velocity than the Golf.

“There are few
manufacturing unit-fitted choices for the Honda, however you possibly can add the £600
Know-how Pack to EX fashions. It provides LED lights and wi-fi
smartphone charging.”

Volkswagen Golf

Mannequin: Volkswagen Golf TSI (a hundred and ten) SE Nav
Value: £20,one hundred twenty
Engine: 3cyl, 108bhp
zero-60mph: 9.6 seconds
Check financial system: 38.5mpg
CO2: 109g/km
Annual highway tax: £a hundred and forty

The newest VW Golf is actually an replace of
the seventh-era mannequin that made its debut in 2013. The
model has left no stone unturned in its quest to propel the
evergreen hatchback to the highest of the category. New engines,
up to date infotainment, extra security options and additional equipment all
make an look. Right here we check the 108bhp TSI
petrol in £20,a hundred and twenty SE Nav guise.

The brand new Golf appears acquainted, and it’s the identical
story with the way in which it drives. You get a fascinating package deal that
completely blends refinement and composure.

That’s to not say there haven’t been any
modifications. Below the bonnet of our automobile is the three-cylinder petrol that was beforehand solely obtainable on the
extremely-environment friendly BlueMotion. Regardless of its diminutive capability,
the turbocharged engine placed on a powerful show. Its zero-60mph
time of 9.6 seconds was half a second sooner than the Honda,
whereas it had the bigger-capability Renault crushed throughout our
in-gear assessments. As an illustration, it coated the fourth gear
30-50mph increment in 5.6 seconds, which was 1.1 seconds forward
of the Mégane.

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On the street, the Golf feels extra full of life as its
extra highly effective rivals, pulling easily and eagerly from as
little as 1,500rpm, even within the increased gears. With 200Nm of
torque at simply 2,000rpm, there’s little must work the graceful
engine exhausting – however the unit will spin sweetly to the 6,000rpm
purple line.

The positives proceed whenever you enter a collection
of corners, the place the Golf responds swiftly to the direct and
properly weighted steering. There’s additionally luggage of grip and
rock-strong physique management, which make the VW a
confidence-inspiring machine. Higher nonetheless, this agility is
matched to spectacular refinement and luxury. The trip isn’t as
delicate because the Mégane’s, but it surely’s
managed over huge bumps, whereas engine, wind

and highway noise have been remoted from the

Tester’s notes: “VW has
been intelligent with this replace, focusing on areas the place the Golf
wanted enchancment. Consequently, class-main high quality is
backed by slicing-edge tech.”

Renault Megane

Mannequin: Renault Megane 1.2 TCe Dynamique S Nav
Worth: £19,750
Engine: 1.2-litre 4cyl, 128bhp
zero-60mph: 10.2 seconds
Take a look at financial system: 33.9mpg
CO2: 120g/km
Annual street tax: £one hundred forty

The newest Renault Mégane is an actual contender,
because of its mix of slick model, elegant cabin and high-notch
refinement. Together with the model’s punchy 1.2-litre
TCe petrol engine and properly outfitted £19,750 Dynamique S Nav
trim, the Renault makes a really fascinating alternative and units a
powerful benchmark for the Civic and Golf.

The Mégane has probably the most highly effective engine on
take a look at, however at 1,340kg, it’s nearly as heavy because the Honda. As a
consequence, the Renault wasn’t in a position to pull forward on the check
observe, and even trailed in some areas.

It accomplished the dash from zero-60mph within the
10.2 seconds, which was only a tenth slower than the Honda.
Issues didn’t enhance throughout our in-gear checks, the place regardless of
its muscular 205Nm of torque, the Renault required eleven.6 seconds
for the sixth-gear slog between 50-70mph.

Because of this, you must work the engine fairly
onerous to get most efficiency, and the 1.2 TCe unit feels
flatter at low revs in contrast with the smaller capability VW or
equally highly effective Honda. The engine is easy sufficient and
pretty properly remoted, nevertheless it doesn’t have the characterful
thrum of the Golf.

There are totally different driving modes to decide on
from together with Sport, Consolation and Eco, however they don’t alter the
character of the automotive all that a lot. In reality, it doesn’t take
lengthy behind the wheel of the Mégane to grasp that it has been
developed with consolation and refinement in thoughts. The gentle
suspension effortlessly soaks up bumps, whereas wind, highway and
engine noise are all stored at bay. The Renault isn’t as poised
on the highway because the Golf, nevertheless it boasts loads of grip and
correct, effectively weighted steering.

Tester’s notes: “Metallic
paint usually prices £545, however the Flame Crimson of our automobile is one
of the model’s i.d. colors and prices an additional £a hundred. Different hues
embody Arctic White and Iron Blue.”


First place: Volkswagen

The updates to the Golf are refined, however when a
automotive is that this near the highest of the category small tweaks make the
distinction. The revised infotainment and additional equipment are nice,
whereas the brand new small-capability petrol engine delivers a
compelling mixture of efficiency and economic system; the 1.6 TDI is
nearly redundant. The core Golf strengths of high quality and
practicality stay undimmed.

Second place: Renault

Comfy, refined and trendy; the Mégane
is a vastly fascinating household hatchback alternative. It’s additionally nice
worth for cash, and spacious sufficient for many wants. It’s not
fairly as sharp to drive because the VW, however it makes up for this
with a mushy experience and low noise, plus a excessive-high quality really feel and
neat infotainment. Nonetheless, its hobbled by poor residuals and
the weakest engine right here.

Third place: Honda

It is a shut-run factor, however the Honda doesn’t
do fairly sufficient to upset the established order. It’s spacious,
good to drive and backed by loads of security equipment, plus it’s
effectively outfitted in EX guise. Nonetheless, it may well’t match the Golf’s
stylish enchantment, low working prices and sprightly efficiency,
whereas the Renault nonetheless has the sting for worth, refinement and

Different choices on this class

Vauxhall Astra 1.0T SRi Nav

Worth: £20,375
Engine: 3cyl, 104bhp

Vauxhall Astra - front static

Newest Astra boasts sharp appears to be like, glorious driving dynamics and
an keen three-cylinder engine. It may well’t fairly match the Golf
for upmarket attraction, however the Vauxhall is solidly constructed and SRi
Nav trim will get respectable listing of equipment, together with wonderful OnStar
concierge service.

Mazda three Sport Nav

Worth: £20,845
Engine: 4cyl, 118bhp

Mazda 3 - front static

Mazda has ignored newest development for downsizing, so good-looking three
will get a naturally aspirated petrol that emits
impressively low 119g/m of CO2. Revvy
engine combines with participating dealing with to make the nicely
outfitted hatchback a best choice for eager drivers.